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Happy Healthy Pets™

5 Halloween Pet Safety Tips

Cat in a pirate costume sitting on a lap.

#1: Keep Halloween treats away from your pet

Halloween is synonymous with delicious sweets and treats, but the goodies you hand out and your trick-or-treaters bring home can be harmful to your pet. Prevent your pet from eating these Halloween treats:

  • Chocolate

  • Raisins

  • Candy containing the artificial sweetener xylitol

  • Caramel apples

  • Candy corn

Keep all candy and sweets out of your pet’s reach, reminding your children to refrain from sharing food with their furry pal, and to dispose of candy wrappers—a choking hazard—properly. If you suspect your pet has ingested a toxic substance, immediately contact the 24-hour Pet Poison Helpline or your veterinarian. Signs your pet may have ingested a toxic substance include:

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Tremors

  • Accelerated heart rate

#2: Be careful with pet costumes

Yes, pets look adorable in Halloween costumes, but not all pets are comfortable in them. If your pet tolerates being dressed, choose a costume that fits them comfortably, ensuring the outfit does not inhibit their mobility or restrict their breathing. Avoid dressing your pet in a mask or wig, which can be dangerous if they become entangled with straps or elastic bands. In addition, to avoid a choking hazard, ensure your pet’s costume is free of adornments they could ingest. For a festive look with no hassles or hazards, dress your pet in a decorated bandanna or Halloween-themed collar. No matter what your pet wears on Halloween, always supervise them while they are dressed, and remove their costume within a reasonable time to ensure they do not overheat.

#3: Use pet-friendly Halloween decorations

Spooky decorations add to Halloween’s thrills, and are a big hit with trick-or-treaters, but some Halloween decor can be hazardous to a curious pet. Protect your pet from the hidden dangers posed by the following Halloween decor:

  • Jack-o’-lanterns — If you light your carved pumpkin with a burning candle, place the jack-o’-lantern up high, where your pet’s excited, wagging tail cannot knock over the glowing orb. A faux candle is a safe alternative to a real candle’s flame.

  • Glow sticks — Keep glow sticks away from your pet, and dispose of the tubes carefully. While a glow stick’s liquid is nontoxic, your pet can develop an upset stomach and vomit if they ingest this fluid.

  • Electrical cords and battery-powered decorations — When Halloween decorations are plugged in, keep a close eye on your pet to prevent them from chewing live electrical cords, which can cause them to suffer serious injuries such as burns and electrical shock. In addition, to prevent your pet from swallowing a battery—which can cause an intestinal blockage—do not allow them to play with battery-operated decorations, some of which your pet can easily mistake for a plush chew toy. Always unplug decorations when not in use, and keep battery-powered decorations out of your pet’s reach.

#4: Leave your pet home when trick-or-treating

Trick-or-treating is no treat for pets—the crowds, costumes, and spooky soundscan easily overwhelm them, causing the most well-behaved pet to react unpredictably and aggressively to this stressful situation. Leave your pet at home, and ensure everyone’s safety. Before you head out, or the boisterous trick-or-treaters begin arriving, create a calm, quiet space at home for your pet—away from the front-door commotion—and play soothing music or turn on the television to provide background noise. Ensure your pet remains distracted during the festivities by providing them with plenty of engaging toys and treats, such as a puzzle bowl or a Kong filled with xylitol-free peanut butter. If you know your pet becomes extremely agitated by Halloween’s sights, sounds, and chaos, discuss with your veterinarian whether anti-anxiety medication would be beneficial to your furry friend.

#5: Microchip your pet

Your pet can easily slip out undetected when your front door is being continually opened and closed during Halloween’s festivities. Before the big night, ensure your pet is microchipped, and your current contact information is registered with the data company. In addition, ensure your pet’s collar is comfortably secure, and your contact information is current on their identification tags.

Although your pet may enjoy Halloween, the holiday presents many undetected hazards. If your pet gets into too many tricks and treats this Halloween, act quickly, and use this locator to find the nearest veterinary practice or emergency veterinary hospital in your area.

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